Variety, TVWeek, PBS

Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’ Series on PBS Is Having an Impact on the Music America Is Buying

Sep 27, 2019  •  Post A Comment

Ken Burns’ eight-part documentary series “Country Music,” which has been airing recently on PBS stations, is driving a spike in sales for a number of country artists. Variety calls it a “stampede back to classic country” and notes that “decades-old albums by artists featured on the PBS show are taking over the Amazon and iTunes charts.”

“As of Thursday morning, on Amazon’s physical media chart, classic country artists who’ve been given the spotlight on ‘Country Music’ command eight of the top 20 spots among all-genre sales and 35 of the general top 100,” Variety reports. “On iTunes’ all-genre album download chart, which is naturally going to skew a bit younger, albums by artists featured on Burns’ ‘Country Music’ account for 14 out of the top 80 spots.”

The report adds: “If you’re looking strictly at the country charts, of course, the numbers are even more impressive. On Amazon’s country album sales chart, every single album in the top 20 has a connection with Burns’ show. On iTunes’ country albums download chart, 60 of the top 100 are by artists associated with the series.”

The report notes that artists who have received a bump in sales include Jimmie Rodgers, who was featured in the first episode, along with artists featured later in the series such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams and Dwight Yoakam, all of whom have had spikes in “best of” albums, among others.

“But landmark studio albums that Burns featured on the show are doing well, too,” Variety adds. “At Amazon, the No. 2 album on the all-genre chart at the moment is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken,’ which became a focus on the series because of how the group brought in Roy Acuff and other classic country artists who stood in danger of being forgotten at the time it was recorded.”


  1. This is the closet I can get to telling Ken Burns how much I really enjoyed his Country Music series!!! I was raised on Country Music as a child in the 50’s and I’ve loved it ever since. One of my fondest memories is my mommy doing the ironing as she and I listened to the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night. As I’ve grown up, I have listened to other types of music, but I always come home to Country. Thank you for showing everybody how Country Music came to be. It was so good to see all the artists in their prime. I also like today’s Country too. 🙂

  2. Enjoyed the series. Took me back to my dad playing Hank William’s when I was young. Good memories.

    • Me too. Glad we had those memories.

  3. Great to hear. Maybe classic country will come back sooner rather than later.

  4. Grew up in Gate City VA. So close to the Carter Family. June preformed at our local theater. Got to meet her and what fun she was. Just did not realize what a force all the Carter Family would be to Country Music.

  5. Country music is the very best that’s out there! Rock, rap, reggae and any other can’t compare! The songs tell a story, sometimes sad, at times funny, always entertaining. I listen to nothing else! Thank you Ken
    Burns for your wonderful, entertaining and educational series.

  6. Its about time we find a way to get back to tge real country music

  7. Thank you Ken Burns. I remembered my Dad playing Hank William songs on his guitar during camping trips and then going home to watch Hee Haw. I smiled with tears in my eyes.

  8. I hated that it had to end!

  9. Thank you Ken Burns for a job well done! I really enjoyed it and some of it had me laughing along with the tears. Keep up the great work!

  10. I was raise on country music. My parents were “Oakies” so not only did I enjoy the music I really loved the history lesson. It was a reminder of what they lived through and how they suffered. So glad they had Country Music to tell there story.

  11. I’ve been a country fan since my mom played a song called Anytime by Eddie Arnold back in the 50’s. She loved that song. I’m not a fan of very much of the current country music. As a whole it doesn’t seem to have the ability to reach the heart, at least not mine. Although there are a few things I like for example Blue Ain’t Your Color by Keith Urban (and oh my goodness watch him on that guitar!!!). Thank you Ken Burns for a great series.

  12. If you enjoy “real” country music (not modern bro-country garbage), the CD releases from the german record label Bear Family are the benchmark. Exquisite sounding collections made with exhaustive research, jam packed with informative liner notes and beautiful artwork. They have many collections featuring artists profiled on the PBS special. Check em out!

  13. It would be just wonderful if Country music would be Country again ! This new type of Country has no real Heart or Emotion in it. I pray that new undiscovered men and woman old style Country music singers would be found. I use to watch every country award show. None in Years since the good country singers are mostly dead

  14. Please show future air dates for Ken Burns 8 part documentary “Country Music”. I just love what I have seen but I missed the first one and another one of the earlier ones. I will be so disappointed if they aren’t rerun. I am a life long lover of country music and have loved this series. It’s just great!!

  15. Have lived in Nashville since 1966. The current country songs all have a “dirt road, truck, white t-shirt, and a farm.” The songs just list things associated with the country life. In the past, the songs had true emotion. I ran into Minnie Pearl at a Pier One once…she was a gracious woman. Went to the tapings of the Johnny Cash Show and saw numerous greats. It was a wonderful show. I don’t think they spent any time, however, on Alan Jackson.

  16. Fabulous series! I can’t wait to watch it again!

  17. Loved the Country Music documentary, as I have all of those I have seen. I was in my teens and early twenties when Vietnam raged. I really had no idea about that war until I saw your documentary. I was horrified beyond words by the actions Nixon and Johnson. If I were still teaching, I would use as many of your documentaries as possible in the classroom. I can think of no better way to make those events real to students. Keep doing what you do so well!

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